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Gargantuan Nunavut sprawls over North America’s northeastern flank. About half – the part on Canada’s mainland – is the ‘Barrenlands, ’ an expanse of undulating rock and tundra cut through by legendary rivers like the Thelon and the Kazan. Even more barren is the rest of the territory – mostly the Arctic archipelago, which scatters north to Ellesmere Island, just shy of the Pole, and east to Baffin, home to sky-scraping mountains and half of Nunavut’s population.

Unsurprisingly, the territory is chilly. Snow holds sway from September to early June; relentless winds create hard-to-fathom chill factors, such as the –92°C once recorded at Kugaaruk. July to mid-August is summer, when the seas thaw beneath perpetual sun. During this time highs average 12°C in Iqaluit and 7°C further north in Resolute. Much warmer temps – even above 30°C – occur, but so too do mid-July blizzards.

The prime visitor season is July and August. For dogsledding and other snow sports, come in late April or May.